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So, Your Air Conditioner Needs A New Contactor

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If your HVAC contractor has informed you that your air conditioner needs a new contactor, you might be a little confused. A contactor is not a part that most homeowners know much, if anything, about. But rest assured that this is a relatively common AC repair and one that any reputable AC contractor should be able to handle with ease. Keep reading to learn a little more about what a contactor is and what it means to have one replaced. 

What is a contactor?

A contactor is basically an electrical component. It passes the electrical signal from one part of your air conditioner to another. For example, your AC unit likely has a contactor between the condenser and the outdoor fan motor. This contactor allows the condenser to tell the outdoor fan motor to turn on. Most AC units have several contactors between the various components.

Why do contactors break?

Usually, when contactors break, it's not the result of one acute trauma or action. Instead, they tend to wear out slowly, over time, due to continued use. Most air conditioners will eventually develop one or more worn contactors if they stay in service long enough.

How can you tell a contactor needs to be replaced?

When a contactor within your AC unit fails completely, your air conditioner will generally stop working. However, there are usually some earlier warning signs that a contactor is on its way out. Your air conditioner may chatter before it turns on. This noise is one part of the unit trying to contact another component repeatedly before finally succeeding. You may also notice a humming noise, which is the contactor very slowly making contact with the next component.

Sometimes, these problems are easy to overlook, and you may not know you need a new contactor until your HVAC technician spots a worn one during an inspection.

What does contactor repair involve?

Usually, an HVAC repair contractor will address this issue by removing the damaged contactor and replacing it with a new one. Most contactors are relatively inexpensive, and replacing one should not take your HVAC contractor long. This minor repair is almost always worth making, and it's best to have it made before your AC fails completely.

Hopefully, this article has cleared up some of the questions and concerns you had about having your AC contractor replaced. Contact a local HVAC service, such as Environmental Air Systems Inc, to learn more.